Sea change for uni students


Twenty Federation University students swapped their usual classroom for a two-day camping trip to the iconic Surf Coast in March.

The group of Conservation and Land Management students take the annual trip to the Great Ocean Road to learn about coastal and marine environments as part of their degree.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale said the sea change was a great way for students to explore how different land managers implement conservation strategies relevant to their environment.

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Students help tackle the invasive Coastal Tea Tree to make space for native revegetation in the cooler months.

“Our main focus is to preserve and enhance the natural environment, and to sensitively manage the impacts of recreation and visitors.”

The GORCC conservation team is preparing the land for tree planting over winter and have been focusing on weed removal, particularly the removal of coastal tea tree from coastal ecosystems.

“Habitat rehabilitation is a vital component of the environmental conservation and the Federation University students were able to see how conservation groups implement different revegetation techniques.”

The GORCC conservation team is preparing the land for tree planting over winter and have been focusing on weed removal, particularly the removal of Coastal Tea Tree from coastal ecosystems.

“Habitat rehabilitation is a vital component of the environmental conservation and the Federation University students were able to see how conservation groups implement different revegetation techniques.”

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The ocean provides a scenic change for Ballarat Conservation and Land Management students.

The group conducted a walk along the Jan Juc cliffs to examine the different weed removal strategies used which included:

  • Slashing and removing slashed material
  • Burning to allow natural regeneration
  • Individual weed removal and planting
  • Direct seeding.

Federation University Horticulture teacher David Coutts said the annual trip was a great opportunity for students to explore and work in different environments.

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Students remove Coast Tea Tree from the dune ecosystems.

“The majority of the year the environmental education is conducted around Ballarat and inland environmental conservation strategies, which is why it is fantastic to learn about marine and coastal habitats.

The annual trip also included a visits to the Marine Discovery Centre with hopes of participating in Birdlife Australia’s Beach Nesting Bird program next year.

Are you interested in joining our environmental education programs? Visit The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee website to enrol your group or find out more.

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